Thursday, October 5

My Frugal Miser - September Expenses: $3,629


I should have been more frugal last month.  Things got out of hand in Vegas after one too many drinks and I lost a lot of money playing blackjack.  What sucks is that I was ahead $700 before that and then gave it all back and then some.

I received an unexpected refund from the hospital where I had my sinus surgery, but I also received an unexpected lab bill that I have yet to pay.  I want to find out if those two transactions are somehow related.

Food and gas were affected by our evacuation during Hurricane Irma.  We went to Birmingham for a few days until the power was restored at my house.  Since the power was out for several days, I had to throw out all the food that spoiled.  Interest expense was the hard-to-borrow interest I pay for shorting Sears stock.  One day, if they ever file for bankruptcy, this will all be worth it and I will have a nice gain.  Clothing was also on the higher side.  For the meeting work we do, I have to wear professional clothes, and needed to replace some of the dress shirts that were stained.  Last but not least, utilities were higher as we switched cell phone providers.  I sold my Pixel at a loss and also had two cell phone bills.  The good news is my monthly phone bill will go down by at least $50/month.

September Expenses:  $3,629

$621 Auto ($193 for gas, $428 for new tires)
$0 Bank Fees
$102 Clothing
$13 Computer
$1,126 Entertainment (movies, gambling, alcohol)
$480 Food
$0 Gifts Given
$50 Household/Housing/Home Repair
$0 Homeowner's Insurance (annual payment)
$28 Health and Dental Insurance (prepaid 2017 health insurance premiums in December 2016)
$0 Investment Expense
$783 Interest Expense*
($404) Medical/Dental (income)
$0 Miscellaneous
$5 Personal Care
$35 Subscriptions
$0 Taxes
$111 Sharing Economy Expenses (tolls, car washes, etc.)
$436 Utilities
$244 Vacation

*Interest expense includes student loans and the loan on my car.  As both rates are below 2%, I am completely comfortable paying the interest each month and investing the money that I would otherwise use to pay off these loans.  In August, I paid $1,070 to E*Trade for "hard to borrow" interest on a short sale of Sears Holdings stock. 

Tuesday, October 3

My Frugal Miser - September Income: $9,812


September was a mediocre month for income.  I continued to get steady work from Amazon making deliveries.  I did not do much mystery shopping, but yesterday I signed on to a major project that will mean higher mystery shopping income in October and November.

Rental income is still lower than it should be.  I have one tenant who hasn't been paying rent (the primary tenant passed away, so this will continue until she moves out).  Another property became vacant at the end of the month.

September Income: $9,812

$543 Mystery Shopping and Hospitality Jobs
$65 Uber
$0 Lyft
$0 Postmates
$3,271 Amazon Deliveries
$5,242 Rental Income
$140 Dividends and Interest (Investment Accounts)
$553 Realized Gains (Losses) on Investments
$0 Other Sources

Notes:  
  • I don't include transactions in my retirement accounts.  This includes rental income, dividends and capital gains and losses.
  • I include merchandising and hospitality work in the mystery shopping category since the companies that I shop for provide this extra side work. 

Tuesday, September 5

My Frugal Miser - August Expenses: $4,057


Overall August was a good month.  Taking out the Sears interest I paid on my short stock position, my real spending last month was just under $3,000.  The utilities category was high because I paid two electric bills, bought a new phone and switched to a new phone provider.  The net effect will be a lower phone bill in the future.  I also spent nearly a grand on vacationing.  That shouldn't surprise anyone:  we spend on experiences, not things.  I bought two round-trip tickets to Las Vegas for $221 (5 years ago it would have cost $800, go figure!).  The balance was for the Belize trip, and it included the food we consumed while we were there.  We did one day tour on the mainland, paid for four ferry trips, and ate (and drank) like kings.

August Expenses:  $4,057

$158 Auto ($19 gas, $139 for service)
$85 Bank Fees
$0 Clothing
$20 Computer
$115 Entertainment (movies, gambling, alcohol)
$185 Food
$150 Gifts Given
$443 Household/Housing/Home Repair
$0 Homeowner's Insurance (annual payment)
$28 Health and Dental Insurance (prepaid 2017 health insurance premiums in December 2016)
$0 Investment Expense
$1,112 Interest Expense*
$0 Medical/Dental
$0 Miscellaneous
$6 Personal Care
$35 Subscriptions
$0 Taxes
$88 Sharing Economy Expenses (tolls, car washes, etc.)
$653 Utilities
$979 Vacation

*Interest expense includes student loans and the loan on my car.  As both rates are below 2%, I am completely comfortable paying the interest each month and investing the money that I would otherwise use to pay off these loans.  In August, I paid $1,070 to E*Trade for "hard to borrow" interest on a short sale of Sears Holdings stock. 

Saturday, September 2

My Frugal Miser - August Income: $13,499


I busted my butt in August!  Amazon deliveries ($3,412) contributed to the bulk of my income.  Not bad considering we spent a week in Belize last month.  We didn't do any meeting jobs and I only did a few mystery shops - most of the income in that category is from work I did in July.

Rental income looks okay, but one management company paid July and August rent during the month of August, so this is artificially high.  I still am dealing with the deceased tenant's house.  Her mother is living there and hasn't paid rent since she died.  I also found out another tenant (in one of my townhouses) is leaving.

August Income: $13,499

$1,242 Mystery Shopping and Hospitality Jobs
$181 Uber
$104 Lyft
$0 Postmates
$3,412 Amazon Deliveries
$7,546 Rental Income
$28 Dividends and Interest (Investment Accounts)
$875 Realized Gains (Losses) on Investments
$112 Other Sources

Notes:  
  • I don't include transactions in my retirement accounts.  This includes rental income, dividends and capital gains and losses.
  • I include merchandising and hospitality work in the mystery shopping category since the companies that I shop for provide this extra side work.